Working in Manufacturing: Interviewing
September 22, 2022 2:45:00 PM

You’ve gotten your resume updated, you’ve connected to the right people, now is time to ace the interview. Check out these questions that manufacturing recruiters might ask and what you should answer to help you stand out.

You’ve gotten your resume set up, connected to the right people, and now you’ve landed the interview. You’ve already put in so much work to get to this point, but now is when you have to dig deep. It’s time to nail the interview.

Interviews can be anxiety-inducing, but they are not something you should be losing sleep over. There are foundational interview questions that you will need to answer to land that dream job in manufacturing, and you can calm your nerves by preparing answers to those questions before you go in. Here are some interview questions you should expect to have answers to when interviewing for a manufacturing job:

Tell me about yourself.
This question is deceptively tricky. The key is to be concise yet thorough. This is not the time to be humble. Let them know about your accomplishments and what you are proud of. Talk about your career only— when did you start, what was your path to get to where you are today, and what is your next goal.

Why did you leave your last job?
This is not the time to badmouth past employers. Instead, focus on the ways the new company is more aligned with your goals and what you are looking for in the future.

What is your experience in manufacturing?
This is the most obvious question to expect, as manufacturers are often looking for people to fill in specific roles. However, you should not be afraid to answer honestly as there are often multiple jobs the plant is trying to fill. There are even certain jobs that are entry-level and are designed to give you experience and certifications to help you move up in manufacturing. Of course, if you already have experience, be sure to include all types of work you have done and list any certifications you have completed. Employers will want to know what machinery you can operate, and what you are eager to learn.

What kind of computer skills do you have?
Manufacturing operations are becoming more digital, and recruiters will want to know how comfortable you are with the computer. For most jobs, they are not asking you to be a professional coder, but most positions in a plant require working with a computer in some capacity. If you have worked with computers at all or in school, you should have enough skills necessary.

What manufacturing software have you worked with?
This is tied to the previous question, but recruiters are just looking to see how specific your computer knowledge is and to learn if you have any specific programs. Any programs you’ve worked with will give you an advantage, so make a list of everything you can think of.

What would you do if you saw someone breaking safety protocol?
Safety is extremely important in manufacturing. Employers are looking for people who aren’t afraid to step up and point out breaches in safety practices and procedures. If possible, cite a real example of a time you stepped in when someone was working unsafely.

Are you able to operate a forklift or other heavy machinery? Have you had training or earned certification?
Again, the recruiters are looking to see what positions you might be able to fill. Do not try to lie and put yourself in a dangerous situation. However, if you have any experience or certifications, please let those be known, as that will give you a better chance to stand out. Write a list of all the types of experience and certifications you have received before the interview so that you do not forget anything.

What is your greatest strength?
For this question, focus on skills listed in the original job description and discuss one or more of your strengths that will make you stand out. Be sure that you are highlighting your true strengths. You don’t want to claim to be good at something you don’t actually know how to do.

What responsibilities have you had in previous manufacturing jobs?
Besides listing manufacturing skills, it is also important to begin listing soft skills. Soft skills are personal attributes that support things like situational awareness and help an employee get the job done. They are the unquantifiable qualities that make a person a reliable worker. These can be things like digital skills, creativity, writing abilities, people management, negotiation, patience, and diplomacy. Check out our blog here to get a more in-depth breakdown of soft skills.

Was there a time that you know you did not fully perform at your potential, and why do you think this happened?
The recruiter wants to see if you can be honest with yourself. Everyone has off days, but they are looking to see if you can look at yourself critically and figure out what you can do better. However, this is not the question to admit to something that would make them view you in a negative light, so be strategic in your answer.

Have you ever had a conflict with a coworker? What was the outcome?
Everyone has had a conflict with a coworker throughout their career. The important thing is the way you deal with such conflict. Talk about a real experience you had that ended positively. Show how you helped end the conflict and work toward a resolution.

Do you have any questions for me?
Don’t just ask about salary and vacation or, “what’s a typical day like?” Use this time to ask thoughtful questions about the nature of the job to show you’ve thought about what it would be like to work at the company.

The biggest tip is to always answer honestly. Interviews are for the company to see if you are a good fit with them, but also a chance for you to see if the company is a good fit with you. Don’t try to mold yourself into something your not. You want to be in a job that you will enjoy, not one where you will be miserable in. So, take a deep breath, relax, and be ready to have a conversation. If you are confident and concise, you will make a good impression and eventually land the career you are looking for in manufacturing.


About MAU

MAU Workforce Solutions is an innovative global company with extensive experience providing solutions for success in staffing, recruiting, technology and outsourcing to our clients, employees and applicants. Headquartered in Augusta, GA since 1973, MAU is a family and minority-owned company offering better processes and better people to create efficiencies and greater profits for our clients. Our relationships with world-class companies, our training programs and our culture of family allow MAU to offer better results, better jobs and better lives to those who work with us. For additional information about MAU, visit www.mau.com.